“I don’t need pink hair here”: Should we be seeking to reintegrate youngsters without challenging school cultures?
The International Journal on School Disaffection
This article draws on data gathered between 2014 and 2015 through interviews with youngsters and staff, and supplemented by research that took place over a two year period (2012-14) at a school for excluded youngsters in Devon, UK. The research explored the views of students and staff about reasons for being in Alternative Education settings, the difference in culture between such contexts and those provided by mainstream schools, and feelings about reintegration. Noting that reintegration is more successful with primary school students than at secondary level, the authors consider staff preoccupations around the issue of timing, and identify potential windows of opportunity. They also discuss the way in which centres for excluded children can construct environments that operate in the manner of an extended family. This, they argue, creates a conundrum for those working with excluded youngsters: the very elements put in place to create a supportive environment for such youngsters are liable to militate against targets for reintegration back into mainstream schools. The authors conclude that rather than suggesting problems with such alternative settings, this highlights the need for change in mainstream schools.
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